The Heyday of SaaS - quick observations from Dreamforce

  1. We are in the heyday of SaaS. The conference spanned 20+ buildings, served 60,000+ attendees and was sponsored by more than 300 vendors. Free food everywhere. Skullcandy wireless headphone giveaways. DJs in every corner. Four square play areas on fake grass outside. It is one huge party.
  2. Benioff delivered a tremendous keynote. I wish I could speak in public with his confidence, control and passion.
  3. Dreamforce created the perception that Salesforce is at the center of a huge ecosystem of their own creation, which inspires confidence in customers and partners.
  4. Social is the buzzword. After the BuddyMedia and Radian6 acquisitions, this is no surprise.
  5. Salesforce manages a torrent of brands: Chatter, ChatterBox, Do, Desk, Data.com, Heroku, Social Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, Services Cloud, etc. It’s confusing to customers but indicative of their ambition.
  6. At some point, startups will need to evaluate platform risk, asking hard questions like which categories will Salesforce compete or let others thrive.
  7. Chatterbox is a well-built product. It lacks some of key features including security and documents association with client records (Box’s key feature), but it will get there. At Redpoint, we use Salesforce to run internal deal tracking and logging processes; we use Dropbox for file storage and Yammer for chatting. I could envision swapping out Dropbox and Yammer for Chatter and Chatterbox.
  8. Marketing automation companies claimed the center of the expo with the biggest booths. Sales technology has outpaced marketing technology. Marketers are clamoring for the same insights from customer data. This demand is driving four bustling companies Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, and Pardot.

The excitement was palpable and indicative of the enormous wave SaaS has become.

Published 2012-09-21 in


Tomasz Tunguz is partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


Read this next: